It’s All In The Buns
The other day I realized that I reached the epitome of either craziness or pure genius. I wanted to make hamburgers and since I still can’t chew anything, I told myself that I needed to make homemade buns. Why might you ask? I don’t exactly know, I just needed to. It’s not like I could chew. No doubt about it, the only way these burgers were ever going to taste good, was if and only if I made the buns. Mind you, since I haven’t been able to eat, everything sounds really good these days. So I’ve been making all kinds of delicious new recipes…needless to say the peeps at home are enjoying it very much.
These simple hamburger buns are a cinch to make, and they’re worth every bit of time you invest, well so I’ve heard. Believe me, I don’t have to taste them to know how soft, moist and delicious they are. Make these just once, and you won’t ever buy grocery buns again. You’ll start looking for other ways to use them, sloppy joes, pulled pork sammies, roast beef, by themselves with butter…the possibilities are endless.
Here are the usual suspects:
Let’s first work with the wet ingredients.
Just like the other bread recipes we’ve made already, we need to waken up the dry yeast first.
It needs to charge it’s doubling powers.
In a glass measuring cup or a small bowl, put in some warm water. Make sure it isn’t too hot, that it will kill the yeast, or too cold where it wont waken it up. To the water add some warm milk, a couple tablespoons.
To the warm liquids, add some sugar.
We need to feed the yeast.
What?!?! It needs to eat too.
Now for the yeast. Pour it in the cup as well, and give it a gentle mix or shake.
It’s a yeast waterfall.
Let the yeast mixture sit for 10 minutes until it foams up.
In the mean time, crack one egg into a small bowl.
Whisk and set aside.
Attach the dough hook onto a stand mixer. You can definitely do it by hand but why go through all the work if you have a mixer?
I’ll take the easy road, thank you very much. There’s no way I’m kneading by hand for 10 minutes.
Throw in some flour. All purpose and bread. I like a mixture of the two. They balance each other.
Throw in some salt and butter.
Butter makes the world go round.
You can save a step and use salted butter.
Yes it does.
Turn on the mixer on low and blend in the butter until it resembles course crumbs, about the size of peas.
You don’t want to break down the butter too much as the little butter nuggets is what makes the buns puff and become moist.
Course crumbs. 5 seconds. That easy.
Now let’s add our wet ingredients.
The whisked egg.
Let’s check out our resting yeast mixture. Is it spongy?
Yessirebob. It’s spongy alright.
Add it to the bunch.
Mix on low first, so that it doesn’t end up everywhere, and once it’s incorporated, raise the speed.
Mix on medium-high until it forms a sticky ball.
Remember our bowl warming technique?
No worries, I’ll say it again. The bed where we lay the dough to rest needs to be warm (Just helps the dough rise) so place a bowl in the sink and run hot water. That easy.
Back to the dough.
Once it has formed a ball that pulls away from the sides of the bowl (it will be slightly sticky to the touch) dump it onto a lightly floured surface. I like using a cutting board.
Knead the dough, I know I know, by hand, just for a couple minutes until it forms into a smooth ball.
Dry the warming bowl and throw in some canola oil, to prevent the dough from sticking while it rises.
Place the dough into the oiled bowl, turning once to coat it well on both sides.
Cover, loosely with plastic wrap.
Place a damp cloth over the bowl and allow to rest in a warm place until doubled in size about 1-2 hours.
I like using a warmed, turned off, oven. You know the drill.
Once the dough has doubled in size, remove from bowl and place on a lightly floured surface.
Using a dough scraper, cut the dough in half and then into eight equal pieces.
We’re making eight regular sized buns.
But if you’d like you can also make 16 slider buns.
Shape each ball into smooth spheres.
Place them on a parchment lined baking sheet…or if you’re fancy like me, a silicone mat.
Cover with plastic wrap, loosely, and with a damp cloth. Allow to double in size in a warm place, about 1 hour.
Once doubled in size, they will look like this.
Place an egg in a bowl and whisk with a splash of water.
Oh also grab some sesame seeds. Ummm….they’re hamburger buns after all. Wouldn’t be complete without them.
Brush the dough with the egg wash.
Sprinkle with the little seeds.
Meanwhile, pour some hot water into an oven safe baking pan or dish.
There’s a method to my madness.
We’re going to create a steam bath, for our buns, when they bake. It keeps them moist and delicious.
In a pre-heated oven, place the buns on the top rack and the pan of hot water on the bottom rack.
Bake the buns until golden brown all over, rotating pan, half-way through to ensure even browning.
That’s it, we’re done. Making homemade fresh hamburger buns is that easy.
You have to make them tonight. Or tomorrow morning. Or in the afternoon.
Just go on and make them. You wont be sorry.
Sell them at bake sells.
Use them as stocking stuffers.
Bribe people with them.
Here’s the recipe:
Homemade Hamburger Buns
Taken from Smitten Kitchen. Major thanks for this addictive recipe!
Makes 8 4 to 5-inch burger buns
3 tablespoons warm milk
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs
3 cups bread flour
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
Sesame seeds (optional)
In a glass measuring cup, combine one cup warm water, the milk, yeast and sugar. Let stand until foamy, about five minutes. Meanwhile, beat one egg.
In a large bowl, whisk flours with salt. Add butter and rub into flour between your fingers, making crumbs. Using a dough scraper, stir in yeast mixture and beaten egg until a dough forms. Scrape dough onto clean, well-floured counter and knead, scooping dough up, slapping it on counter and turning it, until smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes. The dough will be on the sticky side so it can be a bit messy, but keep in mind that the more flour you knead in, the tougher the buns will get. Try to leave them tackier than you would a round loaf.
Shape dough into a ball and return it to bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, one to two hours. (In my freaky, warm apartment this only took an hour.)
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using dough scraper, divide dough into 8 equal parts. Gently roll each into a ball and arrange two to three inches apart on baking sheet. Cover loosely with a piece of plastic wrap lightly coated in nonstick spray and let buns rise in a warm place for one to two hours. (Again, this only took one hour in my apartment and I suspect, you’ll also only need an hour for a second rise.)
Set a large shallow pan of water on oven floor. Preheat oven to 400 degrees with rack in center. Beat remaining egg with one tablespoon water and brush some on top of buns. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, if using. Bake, turning sheet halfway through baking, until tops are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.